LCD Soundsystem @ Apollo, Manchester, 6 Jun
James Murphy's monolithic live outfit are new and improved for 2018 as they make a quickfire return to Manchester
“We had such a good time last year that we had to come back.”
You can’t help but take James Murphy at his word. LCD Soundsystem played Manchester last September with two shows under the railway arches at the Warehouse Project, the first of which in particular felt like the perfect setting for their UK comeback, with a midnight stage time in fairly intimate surroundings. Murphy’s always had an affinity for the city, too, from name-checking Joy Division in Losing My Edge all those years ago to championing Piccadilly Records tonight: “I don’t think you guys realise how lucky you are to have it. There’s nothing like that in New York.”
The real reason why LCD’s quickfire return to Manchester is such a welcome treat, though, is that they’ve taken their time to work out how to play some of the biggest hitters from last year’s American Dream LP. As was the case in 2010, when they played here at the Apollo for what should have been their last-ever show in England, it seems like the best time to catch LCD is on the second half of a touring cycle, when they’re truly firing on all cylinders and have the full array of new music available to them. Anyone who loved American Dream has been waiting until now for its epic centrepiece How Do You Sleep? to make its live debut; it closes out the main set tonight, over the course of ten epic minutes that do full justice to one of the most monolithic electronic tracks in recent memory and that see guitarist Al Doyle channelling his inner Warren Ellis on the violin.
Elsewhere, there’s also the recently-arrived Oh Baby, a gorgeous, twinkly slow-burner that would have been nailed on for inclusion in a John Hughes film, were he still alive and making them. Clever reinventions to the back catalogue abound also, from the interpolation of Kraftwerk’s Radioactivity into I Can Change to the masterstroke of opening with the ominous, glacial You Wanted a Hit. There was debate when LCD first resurfaced about whether or not they’d tarnished their legacy, especially after they’d quite literally made such a song and dance about calling it a day with Shut Up and Play the Hits.
Truthfully, though, how could you not want them to still be a going concern? It’s not as if we’re overrun with live bands that are this much fun, who can litter their sets with so many great moments – the explosive drop halfway through Dance Yrself Clean; the measured cool of Get Innocuous!; the emotional catharsis that All My Friends provides. They are pretty much peerless, and if Murphy needs an excuse to get back to Piccadilly Records for another spree, he’s more than welcome to make LCD shows in Manchester a frequent fixture.